"Look around", I gesture to the other occupants of the corridor.
Dean's eyes move.
"I am the oldest person in this corridor".
For once this is not hysteria. There's a boy to our right who probably started shaving last week, a group of giggling girls in headscarves who most certainly have half fare bus passes and a girl to our left who has come with her mum. Even the students in purple t-shirts who are marshalling the event are probably still young enough to make the age requirement for a girlband. It is a worse demographic than McFly gigs ever are.
I don't want Dean to feel left out: "And you're probably the second oldest".
Dean is dealing with this surprisingly well. "Lots of potential postgraduates are going to be 20, 21".
"And lots of potential undergraduates are only going to be 17". Twenty one is not off putting, I found my first grey hair at that age and, anyway, I am not against the occasional 21 year old, but hundreds of people who haven't even gotten their A Level results yet? Who are still fresh faced and eager and cannot legally buy alcohol?
It is too much.
"It's a postgraduate open day. I have my first degree that gives me priority". Not, of course, in life in general but on day's like today doing the seven exams which consitute my degree over the course of nine days and still being alive should count for something.
I am warming to my subject, the boy with the newly shaven face is looking slightly uncomfortable, "They had better not be cluttering up the drama department stall or I will not be pleased". I frown and try to look as mature and academic as I can muster when I am wearing a spotty dress and purple tights.
When the Open Day officially starts the number of obvious potential postgraudates numbers about five. The rest of the congregation have one or other of their parents with them. It reminds me of the day I went to Newcastle University with my Dad when they served the parents tea and cake and put those of us who'd had offers in a room with a poem by Margaret Atwood to discuss. Seven and half years later I'm at Goldsmiths with Dean. As yet there is no cake.
By luck more than judgement I am first to the drama stall. It is split equally between postgrad and undergrad courses. I realise that they were expecting hoards of hopeful undergraduates who couldn't make their open day to come today. I supress a little hurrumph.
The tutor behind the postgrad section turns out to be the covenor of the course I want a place on. We talk. A queue behind us builds. I realise that I really want a place on this course. We are still talking. Some people get bored of waiting and go elsewhere. We finish, he tells me to apply. I extricate myself from the crowd and Dean laughs at me for having the cheek to ask the tutor what would blow him away in an application.
We wander round the hall, a woman on the accomodation stand talks to me.
"We make sure that people are arranged by age".
Obviously she has noticed my grey hair.
"Good, 'cause I wouldn't really want to be with 18 year olds". Only I say "18 year olds" as if it's a contagious disease.
All in all I'm probably lucky that I get out of New Cross alive.